The Sundre and District Chamber of Commerce has teamed up with the Town of Sundre's Economic Development Committee to undertake a survey of local business owners.
Committee member Monica St. Dennis, manager of Sundre ATB, presented a draft of the Business Visitation Program Survey to members during last week's chamber meeting at the Sundre Community Centre.
The survey is being completed by five test companies and after review will then be given to chamber members in June.
The survey asks for input on numerous business related topics, with respondents asked to provide ratings to questions such as the following:
• During the past year has your company noticed significant change in the following areas: sales and revenue; employment levels; facility size; equipment; product line; and location.
• During the next one to three years do you plan to expand your company in the following areas: sales and revenue; employment levels; facility size; equipment; product line; and location.
• During the past three years what action has your business undertaken to increase revenue and/or repeat customers: implemented or revised a marketing plan, staff or management attended organized customer service training; used loyalty programs; changed products; changed hours of operations; changed location.
• What factors are adversely restricting the retention or expansion of your business? Access and availability of parking spaces, suitable employees, market size, out of town competition, bylaws, support of local government, more commercial lots/land, transportation infrastructure.
• How does your company rate the Town of Sundre in terms of a place to do business: excellent, good or fair.
The survey also asks for comments on questions such as: What are your greatest challenges to operating your business? How can the Town of Sundre improve its relations with and services to its businesses? What type of new business would complement or assist the growth of your businesses.
St. Dennis told members once completed, the survey results will be presented to town council, perhaps in the fall.
PARADE VOLUNTEERS WANTED
Chamber secretary Heidi Overguard gave members an update on parade preparations.
The 2011 parade, with the theme Salute to Agriculture, will include a new antique tractor category.
The parade will recognize local people who have made a difference to the local agriculture industry over the years, and organizers are asking for residents who have someone who fits that bill to let the chamber know.
Organizers are also still looking for volunteers to help out on parade day.
“It's going to be an exciting parade,” said Overguard.
CHAMBER WILL BE INVOLVED IN PINKEST TOWN TOURNEY
The chamber has agreed to help out with a golf tournament as part of the Pinkest Little Town in the West cancer fundraiser.
The tournament is scheduled for Coyote Creek in August. The chamber will take money from participants and issue receipts.
Member Jim Eklund put forward a motion calling for the chamber to support the tournament. The motion was passed.
VISITOR INFORMATION CENTRE OPEN
The chamber's visitor information centre will be receiving $6,000 in support from the Town of Sundre in 2011, up from $4,000 last year, manager Gord Moore told members.
“This is very good news for us,” said Moore.
The centre will be opening for the season this week, with office hours from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Moore reminded members that they can put their company brochures and business cards on display at the centre.
As well, the centre is looking for more local artists to display their works in the centre. The chamber gets 10 per cent of the proceeds from the sales of the artwork.
Members passed a motion to have the Sundre chamber have a booth at next year's Travel Alberta Spring Showcase.
“This is something we should be doing,” said Moore.
LOCAL BUSINESS SUCCESS IMPORTANT FOR SUNDRE
Members have a fairly lengthy discussion on the need for Sundre's local business community to prosper despite competition in nearby towns.
Member Dennis Overguard said he would like to see the chamber conduct a survey of local residents to find out what types of new businesses people would like to see in town.
“We need to get the word out that we want and need business,” he said.
Once the chamber knows the kinds of businesses people want, it could work with the Town of Sundre and other stakeholders to bring those businesses here, he suggested.
Member Jim Eklund echoed Overguard's comments, saying the town should be working through the Economic Development Committee to bring new businesses to town and area.
It was suggested that the town and chamber websites may be a good place to conduct a survey.
Town councillor Myron Thompson said more needs to be done to get more people who work in town to move to town, instead of residing in Olds and other towns.
CAR SHOW IN THE WORKS
Work is underway to bring a car show to town in September, members heard.
Members passed a motion in support of the plan, with organizers now expected to approach the town for the necessary permission.